(health) Are you ready to do a Juice Cleanse? How about a Beyonce-inspired fast? Six things you need to know before giving up solids

"Laaaaaaa..." that's the fat lady (me) singing to signal the fact that it's all over.

Christmas and New Year 2016 have been brilliant. But now it's time to embrace a new year, face the music, and face the fact that enjoying daily cheeseboards and eating chocolate for breakfast is not ok any more.

We all know that changing our eating and exercise habits are the best way to improve our bodies and health long-term, but if you're looking for a quicker fix and have some spare cash and a bit of willpower then how about a Juice Cleanse this January?

Juice Cleanses are considered easy ways to kick-start a detox or healthy eating plan and are soaring in popularity thanks to celebrity endorsements from gorgeous women like Beyonce and Gwyneth Paltrow.

By replacing solid food with fresh vegetable (sometimes fruit) juice for a few days you eliminate all toxins giving your digestive system a break at the same time as flooding your body with buckets of vitamins and minerals. The results are said to include weight loss, more energy, better skin and improved mood. 

But how easy is it really to avoid solids and sugar? And is it worth the effort just days after living on carbs and Christmas cake?

I tried a Plenish medium level cleanse for three days recently. Here's what I learned...

Juice Cleanses like Plenish are considered easy ways to kick-start a detox or healthy eating plan pic: Instagram/ms_tonijones

Juice Cleanses like Plenish are considered easy ways to kick-start a detox or healthy eating plan

pic: Instagram/ms_tonijones

THE DOs AND DON'Ts OF JUICE CLEANSING

1. DO CHOOSE A TIME WHEN NOT MUCH IS GOING ON...

It is always going to be easier cleansing at the beginning of the week than the more sociable run-up to the weekend, so I would suggest starting Sunday/Monday (assuming you are doing a three-day cleanse) making it easier to avoid pubs/restaurants/friends/fun (being a non-drinker is one thing, being a non-eater is another ballpark of boring for your friends entirely).

It's also worth thinking about how you are going to transport and store the juices as they don't travel too well, so being at home/near an office fridge is great.

2. ...BUT DO KEEP YOURSELF BUSY 

I didn't actually get that hungry (on two days I completely missed out one of my afternoon juices) but that didn't stop me thinking about food constantly. More than sex. Even dreaming about it. Proof that a lot of eating habits are just that, habits, but nice food and drink play a big part in my life and so keeping myself distracted helped me stick to the plan.

Keeping busy is especially important at the end of the day - the time when we are usually planning/thinking about/shopping for dinner and then eating - and something wholesome like a massage, meditation or yoga class will help you feel extra nourished.

D|R road tested a Plenish cleanse for 3 days pic: Instagram/ms_tonijones

D|R road tested a Plenish cleanse for 3 days

pic: Instagram/ms_tonijones

The medium level cleanse featured 15 juices and three nut milks pic: Instagram/ms_tonijones

The medium level cleanse featured 15 juices and three nut milks

pic: Instagram/ms_tonijones

3. DON'T DIY

Not all juices are created equal so unless you are a cold-press expert and really know what you are doing stick to one of the expert programmes which have been designed to offer as much nutritional value as possible.   

4. DO EXPECT SOME SIDE EFFECTS

Anyone I mentioned my juice cleansing to seemed obsessed by how much time I was spending in the bathroom. The good news is that I didn't spend three days on the loo.

I DID get headaches though, which was probably coffee withdrawal, and also felt chillier than usual (digesting food creates heat in the body).

And one GREAT side effect was loads of extra energy. Leading on to point five...

5. DON'T USE A CLEANSE AS AN EXCUSE NOT TO WORK OUT

Yes you will be ingesting less calories than usual but you'll also have extra energy from not having to digest actual food and so should be able to carry on with your workout routine as usual. I found getting to the gym early worked the best - before I remembered that I hadn't eaten for days.

Nut milks were included for evening protein pic: Instagram/ms_tonijones

Nut milks were included for evening protein

pic: Instagram/ms_tonijones

One side effect of cleansing is feeling the cold (dressing like a hobo optional) pic: Instagram/ms_tonijones

One side effect of cleansing is feeling the cold (dressing like a hobo optional)

pic: Instagram/ms_tonijones

6. DO EASE YOUR WAY IN AND OUT

Eliminating booze, caffeine and sugar a few days ahead of the full cleanse will mean less hunger pangs and mood swings during the main event.

And on the tail end of the cleanse do not, I repeat DO NOT undo all that hard work by going out out to celebrate your virtuousness. Schedule issues meant that my cleanse finished right before my Christmas party season started with a bang, and as well as getting mega pissed mega quick at the first party I felt TERRIBLE for days after.


VERDICT...

A perfect (if pricey) way to kick off a new year health kick, or get you back on track post binge-eating break.

It’s minimal fuss - no weighing, prepping, cooking, shopping or even washing up - and it’s only three days of your life so is easy enough, just a little dull.

Yes a bit of willpower is involved (clear the fridge and hide the booze beforehand) but you’ll be rewarded with clearer skin, a smaller appetite, a tighter tummy, a buzzing brain and a feel-good sense of achievement.

I lost 3lbs (no body fat though) and felt great until I undid all my hard work with tray loads of tequila slammers, so it's definitely something I will now try and do a couple of times a year.

And time off food definitely made me appreciate it more, and so it's a good way to start more mindful eating. Just don’t plan any big nights out afterwards.

VERDICT: A perfect (if pricey) way to kick off a new year health kick, or get you back on track post binge-eating break pic: Instagram/ms_tonijones

VERDICT: A perfect (if pricey) way to kick off a new year health kick, or get you back on track post binge-eating break

pic: Instagram/ms_tonijones


DETAILS

The Plenish Level 2 Cleanse is a medium level detox designed to boost energy and skin health

 The programme includes six 500ml juices per day delivered to yiour door

Price £178 for three days

plenishcleanse.com

 


A more purse-friendly ALTERNATIVE: fasting for charity with the lemon detox

If a Juice Cleanse is a little out of your budget, then how about some good old-fashioned fasting to help drop the pounds?

Fasting advocates say that abstaining from solid food every so often benefits the entire body and is an investment in improved health and a longer life span. And you will definitely lose weight.

And if you're also looking to make a difference this year then how about a feel-good fast with The Lemon Detox four day #fastingforgood charity initiative - a sponsored fast that will help you look and feel just like Beyonce? Maybe.

The Lemon Detox has become the celebrity way to detox thanks to endorsement from Mrs Carter and other hot women like Naomi Campbell, Mille Macintosh and more recently Gigi Hadid and her mum. 

And this January they are asking users to commit to four days of fasting, get friends and family to sponsor them and raise money for a charity that matters.

Sign up for the 4DayFast charity challenge and learn more about fasting HERE